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‘Witch doctor’ offered to rid woman of ‘evil spirits.’ He raped her instead, police say

A Georgia man accused of raping and sexually assaulting a woman during a supposed cleansing ritual is headed to prison, prosecutors say.

Hasaan Shalgheen, 45, was handed a life sentence Wednesday, March 6, after a jury convicted him on sex crime charges connected to the 2023 assault, according to the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office.

He was found guilty on multiple charges including rape, false imprisonment, theft by deception, battery and sexual battery, according to a news release.

Investigators said Shalgheen, a self-described “witch doctor,” lured the woman to his home in Duluth, where he offered to perform a ritual to “remove evil spirits.”

The woman met Shalgheen at his apartment Feb. 5, 2023, after she agreed to pay him $1,500 to perform the spiritual cleansing, prosecutors said. When she arrived, she noticed a gun on the table, according to authorities.

Shalgheen handed her a white gown to wear for the ritual, which he said would take three hours, according to the DA’s office. The woman was hesitant but undressed out of fear of the gun, prosecutors said.

That’s when Shalgheen ripped the nightgown off the woman and assaulted her, investigators said, refusing to let her go when she objected. He let her get dressed and asked for an additional $300, which she sent, prosecutors said.

The woman later reported the incident to police, who found evidence of an assault during a search of Shalgheen’s apartment, according to authorities. He was arrested at the scene.

Prosecutors said four more women came forward with similar accusations against Shalgheen after the case was reported in the media.

“Victims should not have to feel like they are alone when dealing with this type of crime,” Gwinnett District Attorney Patsy Austin-Gatson said in the release. “We encourage people who have experienced such heinous crimes to come forward and we will get justice.”

Duluth is about a 30-mile drive northeast of downtown Atlanta.

If you have experienced sexual assault and need someone to talk to, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline for support at 1-800-656-4673 or visit the hotline's online chatroom.

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